Iran and the Future of America’s Middle East Strategy

The National Interest has published our latest article, “Reality Check: America Needs Iran,” see here; we’ve also appended the text below.  The piece argues that by trying to pursue a narrow arms control agreement with Tehran, while doubling-down on failed policies of offensively and unconditionally arming and supporting Israel and Saudi Arabia, the Obama Administration “ignores an overwhelming strategic reality: America’s position in the Middle East is in free fall, and the only way out is to realign U.S. relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

As always, we encourage readers to post comments, Facebook likes, etc., both on this site and on The National Interest’s Web site.

Reality Check: America Needs Iran

by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

Since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was announced last week, the Obama administration—echoing previous pledges that nuclear talks with Tehran do not presage a U.S.-Iranian “grand bargain”—has assiduously reaffirmed that progress on the nuclear issue does not signal a wider diplomatic opening.

Such a posture ignores an overwhelming strategic reality:  America’s position in the Middle East is in free fall, and the only way out is to realign U.S. relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Washington must do this as purposefully as it realigned relations with the People’s Republic of China in the 1970s, when it struggled to extricate America from the self-inflicted debacle of the Vietnam War and to renew its diplomatic options, for the Cold War’s last phase and beyond.  By not using nuclear diplomacy as a catalyst for broader, “Nixon to China” rapprochement with Iran, Obama and his team ensure further erosion of America’s standing as a great power, in the Middle East and globally.

U.S. engagement in the Middle East over the past quarter century is a textbook example of what Paul Kennedy famously described as “imperial overstretch”—a great power’s expansion of strategic ambitions and commitments beyond its capacity to sustain them.

In the U.S. case, trying to remake and, ultimately, subordinate the Middle East through military campaigns and other forms of coercive intervention has not just failed; it has been profoundly self-damaging to America’s strategic position.  By seeking to dominate the region—in the process imposing missions on U.S. armed forces that not even the world’s most powerful military could accomplish, squandering vast human and material resources on a scale that not even the world’s largest economy could sustain, and eviscerating the perceived legitimacy of U.S. purposes for the vast majority of Middle Easterners—America has made itself weaker.

To recover, Washington must embrace a new Middle East strategy—one aimed not at coercive dominance but at a reasonably stable balance of power in which major regional states check one another’s reckless impulses.

Such a strategy requires two things.

First, Washington needs to engage—positively and comprehensively—with all important regional actors.  Second, Washington needs to recalibrate relations with America’s traditional Middle Eastern allies—most notably, Israel and Saudi Arabia.  A robust diplomatic opening to Iran is essential to both these tasks.

Whether American elites like it or not, Iran is an unavoidable power in today’s Middle East.  The Islamic Republic’s influence is due to its revolutionary commitment to independence and its participatory Islamist order (not despite these things).  Its influence is, therefore, rising in arenas across the region—and will continue to do so when and as Middle Eastern Muslims gain greater access to participatory politics.

This prompts increasingly alarmist warnings from Israel, Saudi Arabia, and their mouthpieces that Iranian “proxies” are “gobbling up the Middle East.”  In fact, Tehran has grown its influence by supporting unavoidable constituencies marginalized by unrepresentative power structures.

Iran did not create Shi’a majorities in Iraq and Bahrain, or Lebanon’s Shi’a plurality; it did not invent Yemen’s Zaidi community (the Houthis’s base) or occupied Palestinians.  But Tehran has helped these constituencies organize to press their legitimate grievances—so that virtually any expansion of political participation in these venues empowers Iranian allies.

This approach makes it impossible to circumscribe Iranian influence over time.  America must recognize that influence as an indispensable factor in regional politics.  Washington needs positive relations with Tehran not only to fight common foes like the Islamist State, but also to promote genuine regional security.

To these same ends, Washington should look soberly at its allies’ regional impact.  Today, neither Israel nor Saudi Arabia truly represents most of those it governs; neither can endorse more participatory politics in the region.

Likewise, neither can compete with Iran’s capacity to exercise positive political influence and facilitate real conflict resolution in contested regional arenas; on their own, Israel and Saudi Arabia can only make things worse. And, regardless of whatever various segments of America’s political class may perceive Israel and Saudi Arabia to have done for the United States, both pursue policies harmful to U.S. interests (e.g., Israel’s open-ended occupation of Arab populations and aggressive military posture; Saudi Arabia’s support for violent Sunni jihadis and suppression of moderate Sunni Islamists across the region willing to compete for political power through elections).

To reduce the mounting costs that Israeli and Saudi policies impose on America’s position in the Middle East, Washington needs to reduce its dependence on Israel and Saudi Arabia.  A rising Iran could be very helpful in checking the counter-productive policies of America’s traditional regional allies.

But, instead, Obama and his team are reducing a prospective nuclear deal with Iran to the latest version of a self-deluding but widely held ambition among American elites:  to “contain” the Islamic Republic while playing on what those elites imagine are its internal contradictions, so as to hasten its demise.  America has tried this before in the Middle East—against Saddam’s Iraq, which had vastly inferior sources of legitimacy than the Islamic Republic.  Notwithstanding sanctions that killed over half a million Iraqis (half of them children) over thirteen years, Iraqis did not replace Saddam with figures ready to implement sanctioning powers’ preferred policies.  Unseating Saddam required a U.S.-led invasion that proved a blunder of historic proportions for America.

As it follows this well-trod path to strategic failure, the Obama administration is also doubling down on some of the unhealthiest aspects of America’s traditional regional partnerships.

Following the JCPOA’s announcement, Obama promised to maintain Israel’s “qualitative edge”—Washington-speak for continued U.S. backing for offensive Israeli military actions.  In recent weeks, his administration has acquiesced to the Saudi-instigated capture of a Syrian city by an al-Qa’ida affiliate and is providing intelligence, logistical, and political support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen that has killed hundreds of civilians and is enabling al-Qa’ida affiliates to make territorial gains.  Now Obama wants to convene Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab monarchies to deepen collaboration on Middle Eastern “security,” without in any serious way engaging Tehran.

This is folly.  Rather than gamble anew on demonstrably failed policies, America needs to take charge of its own strategic destiny—through full-fledged rapprochement with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

 

94 Responses to “Iran and the Future of America’s Middle East Strategy”

  1. Amir says:

    Irshad says:
    April 6, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    I didn’t mean it the way you have understood it. I should have explained it a bit more.

  2. thecelticwithinme says:

    Those countries that have not adopted the NPT nor allow IAEA inspections of their nuclear programs should have no standing in the discussion. Does KSA have an indigenous nuclear program or will they simply use their funds to purchase whatever it is they feel they need to counter the “Iranian threat”? Will Pakistan, a country with nuclear weapons, join the fun in Yemen by sending in their young men to do all the heavy lifting against the Houthis? I can see a real bloodbath brewing if they agree to come to the aid of KSA in Yemen. Is there any doubt that a variety of pro-western forces are conspiring at this moment (and a formidably-equipped bunch by the way) to help slow Houthis momentum down? Permanently? How is such action in Yemen tolerated by the international community while Russian assistance to resistance in Eastern Ukraine results in sanctions? What is it? It’s one huge hypocrisy after another. It’s a path that leads to nowhere.

    Folly you say? Has anything been a greater folly in terms of U.S. policy in the M.E. than the U.S. seeming to be on all sides of the conflict at once? It is all very clear that the entire mess is deliberate. ISIS is using the arms the U.S. gave to the Iraqi army and selling oil that was supposed to belong to the Iraqi people, which they use to finance their jihad. The U.S. allows KSA to rearm AQAP in Aden with U.S. provided weapons in order to help prolong the conflict and increase the bloodshed. How long can Jordan hold out, with fighting raging all around, and what will happen if things begin to close in on them? Notice how it is the countries that don’t agree to play along with a game that is rigged against them that wind up on the wrong end of a military drone strike. After all, the U.S. has been busy droning the folks in Yemen for some time now. What threat Yemen ever posed to the U.S. remains a mystery to me. Control of the Strait? Is that it? It wasn’t Yemen that attacked the U.S.S. Cole was it? Find the easy victim and spin the narrative afterward. Perfect.

  3. Castellio says:

    thecelticwithinme: really, you can see no organizing principles?

  4. kooshy says:

    ایران، سی و چهارمین عضو بانک توسعه زیرساخت آسیا شد
    پکن – ایرنا – جمهوری اسلامی ایران به عنوان سی و چهارمین عضو بانک توسعه زیرساخت آسیا موسوم به AIIB که به ابتکار چین درحال راه اندازی است، پذیرفته شد.
    ایران، سی و چهارمین عضو بانک توسعه زیرساخت آسیا شد
    به گزارش ایرنا، بخش مطبوعاتی سفارت ایران در پکن سه شنبه اعلام کرد که خبر عضویت ایران در این بانک امروز از سوی وزارت دارایی چین به اطلاع این بخش رسانده شده است.

    براساس این گزارش، پذیرفته شدن ایران در بانک توسعه زیرساختی آسیا به عنوان «عضو موسس» بوده و جمهوری اسلامی به عنوان یکی از اعضای موسس و اصلی در آن فعالیت خواهد داشت.

  5. Fiorangela says:

    kooshy says:
    April 7, 2015 at 4:12 am

    Congratulations Iran.

    Sayonara Stuart Levey, Daniel Cohen and the guerrillas in grey suits at US Treasury TFFC.

  6. kooshy says:

    Fior –

    So sorry for the not translated news, here is the story in English by PressTV, I think very soon Iran will become a full member of SCO

    “Iran becomes high-profile Asia bank founding member”

    http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/04/07/405105/Iran-becomes-Asia-bank-founding-member

  7. fyi says:

    thecelticwithinme says:

    April 7, 2015 at 12:54 am

    The policy is incoherent for multiple reasons; one of them inflexible insistence in not addressing the strategic consequences of the destruction of the Ba’ath State in Iraq and the rise of the Shia.

    That refusal gave us the 2006 war of Israel & Lebanon, multiple wars against Gaza Palestinian by Israel, and the War in Syria.

    That refusal is coupled to 2 other policy choices “I love Israel and she can do no wrong” and “Saudi Arabia is a place we can do business with”.

    What they have accomplished, however, has been the creation and cosolidation of the Shia Crescent on the fields of battle – military and economical – and the emergence of ISIS.

    This US President, this US Congress, and the current flock of EU leaders are incapable of strategic accommodation with Iran; they are too vested in the policies that have brought the world to the edge of World War III and cannot be counted to do anything positive beyond such cease-fire deals.

    The next US President may be able to move forward, if she is not Hillary “we-will-obliterate-Iran” Clinton.

    Just look at the Axis Powers leaders; only threat of war on their own territories, made by the Republican Tsar of Moscowy, concentrated the minds of the Duke of Gaulle and the Duke of Alemanni sufficiently to make another cease-fire deal (and not a strategic settlement).

  8. Pragmatic says:

    Why Iran Might Want to Enrich Uranium, Even if They Don’t Want a Bomb.

    As negotiators return from Lausanne with an outline for a nuclear framework in hand, the fate of a deal now shifts to a U.S. Senate that remains baffled at Iran’s dogged defense of their enrichment program. Our back-of-the-envelope reasoning typically proceeds as follows: Iran can buy reactor fuel on the international market for cheaper than what it costs to enrich it. Thus, the only reason for Iran to enrich is to produce fuel for a bomb.

    But this detached calculus is made possible only by a radical ahistoricism that seems to pervade nearly all discussion of the Iranian nuclear program. Understanding Iran’s nuclear history is crucial for interpreting key aspects of the emerging deal.

    First, some techno-economics. Nuclear power reactors represent towering investments. Most are designed to last 40 years, and their lives are often extended to 50 or 60. Meanwhile, the price of fuel makes up less than 30 perfect of their operating cost. Hence, to an Iranian decision-maker hoping to protect Iran’s nuclear investment, it probably doesn’t much matter whether the Russia of today agrees to sell them nuclear fuel. Iran will need secure access to fuel for the next half-century or more, and the history of Iran’s scuttled efforts to seek peaceful nuclear cooperation would loom large in any assessment of future prospects.

    That history begins with the revolution in 1979. Construction of the Bushehr reactor had begun under the Shah, but after the revolution the German construction firm backed out of the project. This left Iran with a multi-billion-dollar reactor that was 80 percent complete, and many sources indicate that pressure by Washington fomented the withdrawal. In any case, U.S. pressure was certainly involved in 1983 when the International Atomic Energy Agency ceased cooperation with Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, and when France, China and Argentina backed out of fuel-supply and technology-transfer arrangements during the ’80s and ’90s. Given these events, why would Iranians ever rely on the international community for nuclear fuel in the coming decades? It was during this time that Iran reverted to self-reliance, seeking enrichment technology from A.Q. Kahn’s clandestine network.

    Westerners often ask: If Iran’s enrichment program could be justified for peaceful purposes, why did they keep their enrichment program secret for so long?

    This is a silly question. If the U.S. were able to persuade important nuclear states not to cooperate even with Iran’s fuel-fabrication efforts (which have no weapons application), then a declared enrichment program would be out of the question. Clandestine procurement of centrifuge technology was probably Iran’s only option. Even the more recent Fordow enrichment facility — ominously hidden in a mountain — can be seen as a shrewd insurance plan when considered alongside the danger to their other facilities. Iran’s much larger Natanz enrichment plant has been under persistent threat of Israeli airstrike to “take out” Iran’s uranium route to a bomb. As fellow nonproliferation analyst Ivanka Barzashka and others have pointed out, the existence of the Fordow plant removes this option since it would be invulnerable to an airstrike. In fact, if Iran can simply continue enriching at Fordow, then destroying Natanz is even worse than pointless, since it would likely change Iran’s calculus in favor of weaponization.

    Well played, Iran. Well played.

    I cannot speak for Iran, but these considerations might help us understand their sticking points. For instance, it may seem mysterious that Iran is willing to limit centrifuge numbers below an industrial scale, yet still insists on continuing to enrich. But keeping a small fleet of running centrifuges allows Iran to maintain their centrifuge expertise in a healthy and advanced state. This way, if the deal falls apart and they lose access to fuel from abroad, they can quickly expand to industrial scale and avoid shutting down their reactors like they did in the ’80s.

    Now, our best intelligence indicates that, prior to 2003, Iran did have a program to design a bomb alongside their enrichment activities. That same intelligence tells us that the bomb program was halted in 2003, and has not continued since. What has continued is the progressive isolation of Iran by the West, and the clear need for Iranian self-reliance for all things nuclear. And lest we congratulate ourselves that “harsh sanctions have finally brought Iran to the negotiating table,” let me go ahead and pop that little bubble: Iran came to the table in 2003, before sanctions were escalated, with a better deal than we could possibly imagine today. We eloquently responded “you’re evil, go away.” Since then, they have done the rational thing and become excellent enrichers of uranium so they will never again be without fuel for their reactors.

    No one wants to see Iran break out of the nonproliferation treaty. In our efforts to prevent this, we tech-savvy nonproliferation analysts have focused on monitoring their technical capabilities as if our funding depended on it (disclosure: it does). But consider that roughly a dozen nations could easily break out of the treaty, yet only one has. As a predictive variable to indicate impending nuclear proliferation, “technical capability” has been an abysmal failure. On the other hand, we discover a much more promising predictor when we note that the one NPT breakout nation, North Korea, was also the most politically and economically isolated. Isolated countries like bombs. Now as we consider the least-worst alternative to an agreement with Iran — more sanctions and isolation — let us hope that a final deal is reached this summer. And further, lets hope our embarrassment of a Congress stays the hell out of the way.

    Chris Lawrence is a nuclear scientist who works on nonproliferation issues at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation.

  9. Rehmat says:

    The National Interest is a part of Israel Hasbrar Committee. On April 7, 2015, the site published an article authored by Anthony Bablo, in which the self-denying idiot wrote:

    1. Iran has a track record of deceptive conduct with respect to its nuclear program and has been caught out a number of times, there is little ground for trusting Iran and good reason to assume it will cheat.

    2. Iran’s nuclear program is just one part of the threat the Iranian regime poses to Middle East security and stability. Its support for terrorism, its denial of Israel’s right to exist, its threats to the internal stability of many of its Arab Gulf neighbors, and its hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East are other key elements.

    I agree with Ayatullah Ali Khamenei’s warning a few months ago, “I don’t trust Barack Obama’s sincerity to live with Iranians in peace.

    The US policy in the ME will never change in the Middle East as long as the Jewish Lobby controls the Congress, DHS, FBI, CIA and the mainstream media. Saudi Arabia is not a significant player in America’s ME agenda. Riyadh is only supported and protected because its ‘royals’ serve Israeli interests in the region.

    After failure to bring anti-Iran regime changes in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan with the help of Saudi-Islam, it seems Barack Obama has decided to create a so-called “Sunni front” against a Shia-majority Iran while pretending to ink a nuclear deal with Iran. Washington is bullying and arming America’s regional “Sunni” allies to join Saudi-led Israel’s proxy war against Zaidi Shia government in Yemen.

    http://rehmat1.com/2015/04/02/obama-operation-soothe-the-israelis/

  10. Sammy says:

    ‘US-Israel Wage War on Iran in Syria
    By Tony Cartalucci’

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article41451.htm

    “The War on Syria: Containing Iran Before, During, and After Airstrikes

    Such theatrics are but one troubling sign that aggression toward Iran is still very much in the cards, that current negotiations are but a smokescreen for preparations to strike Iran anyway regardless of what concession it is willing to make, and that such aggression may take place once the US and its regional partners believe Syria has been reduced to its weakest state possible – if outright regime change is seen as impossible.

    Brookings states clearly that:

    As the conclusion discusses, an air campaign against Iran’s nuclear sites would likely have to be coupled with a containment strategy—before, during, and especially after the strikes. Containment would be necessary to hinder Iran from reconstituting its nuclear program, prevent it from retaliating against the United States and its allies, and to deal with Iran’s support for violent extremist groups and other anti-status quo activities.

    Admittedly, part of that containment strategy have been attempts to destroy Syria and Lebanon – where the majority of Iran’s regional support is based and where Iran would marshal support from in the immediate aftermath of an unprovoked attack on its territory by US-Israeli aggression.

    In addition to propping up terrorists across the region to attack Iran’s allies abroad, the Brookings report dedicated an entire chapter to “Inspiring an Insurgency: Supporting Iranian Minority and Opposition Groups.” Here, Brookings talks about backing the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its military wing, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) – the latter being a verified terrorist organization, previously listed by the US State Department as such, and guilty of killing not only Iranian civilians throughout decades of terrorism, but also US military personal and US civilian contractors.

    For those who have difficulties believing the US would back Al Qaeda terrorists for the purpose of overthrowing the governments of Libya, Egypt, and Syria, they need only look at overt and continuous support for MEK terrorists in a bid to overthrow the government of Iran to uncover the reality of Washington’s willingness to sponsor terrorism….

  11. Sammy says:

    Here is what Thierry Meyssan has to say :

    http://www.voltairenet.org/article187251.html

    ‘The secret bilateral talks

    Since March 2013, the United States and Iran have been talking in secret. These unannounced contacts began in Oman. For the Iranians, suffocating under an economic and monetary siege without historical precedent, it was not a question of giving in to imperialism, but arriving at a cease-fie for the space of few years, just enough time to regain a little strength. For the United States, who hope to be able to move their troops from the Near East to the Far East, this opportunity had to be accompanied by specific guarantees that Teheran would not profit from the agreement to extend its influence even further.

    The US team was directed by two first-rate negotiators, Jake Sullivan and William Burns. We don’t know who composed the Iranian delegation. Mr. Sullivan was one of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s main consellors, but did not share her blind support of Israël, nor her fascination for the Muslim Brotherhood. He organised the wars against Libya and Syria. When Mrs. Clinton was thrown out by President Obama, Mr. Sullivan became a counsellor for Vice-President Biden’s National Security Agency. It is under these auspices that he engaged in talks with Iran. As for Mr. Burns, he is a career diplomat – and, it is said, one of the best in the United States. He joined the discussions in his quality as adjutant of State Secretary John Kerry.

    At least two decisions have come from these talks. Firstly, the Supreme Leader of Iran, ayatollah Ali Khamenei, agreed to take care to exclude Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie – ex-head of the Intelligence Services of the Revolutionary Guards, now Cabinet Chief and related by marriage to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – from the Presidential race. In this way, Iran will be lowering its profile in the face of international instances. Following that, the US will take care to lower the profile of their anti-Iranian allies, and will unlock the 5+1 negotiations about the nuclear issues in such a way as to put an end to the sanctions.

    And in fact, to everyone’s surprise, the Council of the Guardians of the Constitution (half of whose members were nominated by ayatollah Khamenei) censored the candidacy of Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, when polls clearly projected him as winning from the first ballot. Thanks to division among the ranks of the Revolutionaries, skillfully cultivated by the Supreme Leader, Cheikh Hassan Rohani was elected instead. He was the man of the situation, a nationalist clergyman, and had been the head negotiator for the nuclear issue from 2003 to 2005. He had accepted all the European demands before being relieved of his functions by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he became President. Mr. Rohani had studied constitutional law in Scotland, and was the first Iranian to be contacted by Israël and the United States during Irangate. During the attempted ’colour revolution’ of 2009, organised by the CIA with the aid of ayatollahs Rafsanjani and Khatami, he took the pro-Western stance against President Ahmadinejad. At the same time, his position as a clergyman enabled the mollahs to reclaim the State from the Guardians of the Revolution.

    In turn, the United States also gave instructions to their Saudi allies to lower their profile and offer a benevolent welcome to the new Iranian governement. For a few months, Riyad and Teheran were all smiles, while Cheikh Rohani made personal contact with his US counterpart…..

  12. Nasser says:

    Ambassador Bhadrakumar on Russian Iranian ties

    http://atimes.com/2015/04/a-challenging-time-for-russia-iran-ties/

  13. Jay says:

    As much as I would like rational thinking and peace to prevail, I do not share the optimism I sense from our host here.

    Over the past decade of endless wars defense companies have seen tripled, even quadrupled, their stock values. The wealth created in this sector – one that feeds the lifestyles of politicians from the US to the UK, Israel, some Scandinavian countries, Israel, … – will continue to drive decision making in the western capitals.

    I continue to maintain that this is a tactical pause on both sides. Each side has won something – Iran has the edge. Nothing in the long view has changed or will change – at least not until the US polity changes. And, when is that you ask? Not for a long time!! Most Americans have no clue, or even do not care to have a clue, of what is being done in their name.

  14. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think Obama has made clear he sees a good deal that Israel “does wrong”, but he also believes he can do little to correct the problem.

  15. Pragmatic says:

    After listening and reading what all the parties in 5+1, and Iran had to say, I am certain that by the end of June we won’t see an agreement, which everyone is anticipating on at this time.

    Also, why the leader of Iran has not said anything?! It is obvious……

    And this part of Kooshy:
    چرا اینهمه نان های هسته ای مان در اینهمه سالها را نمی بینیم.
    — و مثلا… نه خونی نه خونریزی ای : سالها صحنه های اصلی داخلی را مدیریت کردیم . و در صدر خبرهای جهان نیز بودیم والا خدا میدانست که چه ها ی دیگر, که نمی نمودیم .
    — و مثالا چگونه می شد که این نیروها/ نهاد اصولگرایان _و حتی اپوزیسیون های بی خاصیت داخلی/خارجی_ مدیریت گردند.
    — و این مذاکرات نیز , اگر مشکلات اصلی/ پنهانتر/زیربنایی ترمان حل نشود , معلوم نیست که صلاح باشد که حل بشود.

  16. fyi says:

    Jay says:

    April 7, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    I think a cease-fire that removes the excuse for war with Iran from the Court of the Mad King is an acceptable outcome at this stage.

    In case of increase threat to Iran, or failure by Axis Powers to comply with the terms of agreement (that is, if they wish to do reprise what Mr. Clinton did in making sure that the deal with North Korea was not honored by US and her allies0 – Iran can do many things – one of them would be leaving NPT.

  17. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    April 7, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Israel is where Protestantism and Judaism are at war with Islam.

    If Axis Powers were smart, they would fly to Tehran and settle that issue with Mr. Khamenei – I guess they think they can prevail against Islam.

  18. fyi says:

    Pragmatic says:

    April 7, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    I think there would be a complex deal in June that few could understand all its nuances and provisions (many secret).

  19. Rehmat says:

    fyi – No one need to reach Islam to Khamenei. What these leaders need is to fly to London and meet a Jewish writers like Gilad Atzmon or Psul Eisen and learn the truth behind Judaism as interpreted by the Zionist Jews in Israel and around the world.

    Paul Eisen: Judaism is NOT religion of peace

    http://rehmat1.com/2015/03/10/paul-eisen-judaism-is-not-religion-of-peace/

  20. pragmatic says:

    fyi,

    I agree that they might be a secret deal, very conceivable, rest assured in US favor. That’s why it’ll be secret!

  21. pragmatic says:

    Correction: Their might be….

  22. Rehmat says:

    fyi – Who would be stupid enough to click on your Israeli propaganda link – Moshe??

  23. Rehmat says:

    Professor Garry Leupp (Tufts University) claimed on April 8, 2015 that Israel and Saudi Arabia, and NOT Iran are behind all the bloodshed in the Middle East and beyond.

    http://rehmat1.com/2015/04/08/iran-beyond-jewish-lies/

  24. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    If you are suggesting that Obama could make a deal with Iran that would resolve the Israel/Palestine problem, I think you are mistaken.

    Again, I think the EU must take the lead on this problem.

  25. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    April 8, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    During or after strategic settlement with Iran, West Bank and Gaza ought to be put on the table.

    While I do not expect US to give anything away, she should be open to discussion.

    EU is irrelevant.

  26. Ataune says:

    @fyi

    Given the extremist views by some very influential people – and extremely sick-minded ones I should add – proposing to nuke Iran in order to deter and break her political dynamism in the region; and given the excitement that this kind of “final solution” rhetoric find among at least half the US political class; we can strongly claim that, unlike what the author of the article is arguing, the US conundrum is not about how to recalibrate her leadership in the middle-east but instead how to disengage from the place.

    The security/military establishment has most likely already concluded that, if the plan is to pursue a total hegemony doctrine on the globe, it is not in the interests of the US to have a strong presence in the middle-east region and the goal is better served by reengaging the resources towards Europe and Southern China. Republicans and some Democrats, for whatever reason it doesn’t matter, want to see the region – except Israel and SA – entirely torched before moving out, while the Administration is rather close to the views Shapiro is expressing, i.e. a status-quo agreement based on the current situation as a re-balancing act.

    I would add that the solution advocated right now by the US hard-liners haven’t yet been sufficiently debated to display its fundamental flaw, obviously based on the interests discussed above and not necessarily the ones that might be advocated by our hosts for example.

  27. Kooshy says:

    fyi says:
    April 8, 2015 at 2:37 pm
    “During or after strategic settlement with Iran, West Bank and Gaza ought to be put on the table.”

    You start sounding like your prime minster, good at least this is more honest.

    This must be the new talking point adopted by Israeli policy makers and subsequently AIPAC and her affiliate organizations.

    Apparently after the Israelites and their stupid Arab scared shits couldn’t stop /divert the west / Iran deal and a consequential and necessary western policy shift, now their demand is that the Palestine issue to be or become part of the eventual deal with Iran ( recognition of Israel right to exist, and saving the temple in Haifa?) , first of all note that this is how low you guy’s position has fallen you are asking mercy of Iran acceptance to stay in occupied Palestine, which is a dream, that in its current format strategically can’t ever happen.

    When I first read this come of the NutNyaboo I laughed of how out of touch and ill informed this guy is. Even Shah couldn’t overtly and officially recognize Israel.

  28. fyi says:

    Ataune says:

    April 8, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    The way some in the Court of Mad King sound are similar to Mongols – but with thermonuclear weapons.

    Mongols, Tartars and assorted other potentates and kings had traditionally restored obedience to the king by massacring rebellious cities and villages.

    Iranians have experienced this type of action for millennia.

    The Courtiers of the Mad King are evidently oblivious to the almost certain annihilation of US cities or the allied Dukedoms in the event of the application of such methods.

    There can be no debate with the insane; they should all be locked up.

  29. BiBiJon says:

    The minstrel has started up a tune. The game of musical chairs to resume
    ======================================================================

    Jeremy Shapiro is correct. The music had stopped soon as 41 proclaimed “a new world order.” Whoever had a chair, has been sitting pretty, feeling entitled, and the chairless, tried as they might, could not get in the circle. Not just Persian Gulf lackeys, but domestic foreign policy mavens whose perches also were unmerited. The whole thing needed shaking up. This is a more charitable take on Pepe’s “empire of chaos.”

    Obama has gotten everyone to get up and circle the chairs anew. One came uninvited to joint session of congress, and others will come to Camp David. All will want their chair back. They will have a chance when Iran’s santoor and US’ Stratocaster stop playing, which will not happen for a very long time. But, kudos to Iran. She didn’t settle to be vying for a chair, but to be one of the minstrels in the gallery.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ljy6PTbX9I

  30. kooshy says:

    BiBijon welcome back good to see your comment I agree but I think this is more of a “Bungle In The Jungle”

    “Walking through forests of palm tree apartments —
    scoff at the monkeys who live in their dark tents
    down by the waterhole — drunk every Friday —
    eating their nuts — saving their raisins for Sunday.
    Lions and tigers who wait in the shadows —
    they’re fast but they’re lazy, and sleep in green meadows.
    Let’s bungle in the jungle — well, that’s all right by me.
    I’m a tiger when I want love,
    but I’m a snake if we disagree.

  31. Karl.. says:

    Problems ahead already?

    Iranian pres.: No deal if sanctions arent lifted
    http://rt.com/news/248121-iran-rouhani-sanctions-deal/

  32. Amir says:

    Judge for yourself! Statements by Iranian Supreme Leader, about nuclear negotiations, conflict in Yemen and new Saudi administration
    [In Persian]

    http://farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13940120000643

  33. Amir says:

    Essentially Ayatollah Khamenei has said 1) sanctions should be lifted simultaneously and instantly (the day the final agreement is signed by all parties), 2) it (removing sanctions) shouldn’t be conditioned upon something else (I assume verification by IAEA?) and 3) nothing would be accepted that might permit infiltrating military perimeter (Additional Protocol) or limit defense capabilities (I think the part in US fact-sheet about limiting ballistic missiles project, under a new UNSC resolution).
    There is much more to it, by the way.

  34. Amir says:

    Kooshy!
    I forgot to thank you for your reply. What did you make of the newest statement by the Leader?

  35. kooshy says:

    Amir Jan

    Firstly I say Iran and Iranian are very lucky to have this wise smart man as their leader, secondly he is intensifying the dis unity in between the 5+1 as well as US internally, and this is smart and necessary when you are working the details of an agreement with six different interests, at the same time he is trying to increase internal unity asking to invite the opposition and speak of the details to them. If like what the media here wants us to believe this man is running Iran I don’t mind if he has the final say in all matters related to state. As a national figure he does his job well, did you notice he also mentioned Iran will not negotiate on his “allies” in other places.

  36. Amir says:

    kooshy says:
    April 9, 2015 at 10:06 am

    Thanks Kooshy!

  37. Rehmat says:

    Indian prime minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to arrive in Canada on a 3-day visit next Thursday on Harper’s invitation as part of his 8-day three nations (France, Germany and Canada) as part of his ambitious ‘Made in India’ campaign. He also plans to discuss India’s military need with fellow Israel-First buddies, Hollande, Markel and Harper, and the situation in the Middle East.

    Canada’s prime minister Stephen Harper and Narendra Modi are ‘birds of the feather’ in many ways. Their political base is Islamophobia and both are supported by Israel and Jewish lobby groups. Last year, Stephen Harper received a hero’s welcome in Israel, while Netanyahu lavished praise on him for being ‘courageous and far-sighted’ for cancelling diplomatic relation with Iran. Netanyahu was one of the first foreign political leaders who congratulated Modi on his election victory as head of the Hindu extremist political parties.

    http://rehmat1.com/2015/04/09/harper-modi-the-islamophobe-combo/

  38. Ataune says:

    @Kooshy

    I think the public stance expressed by Iran’s leader clearly shows who has the upper hand in this negotiation/deal; the US administration wants something that only depends on Iran’s political will. As the US President has, several times now, publicly tried to lay out, the alternative is an all-out war clearly detrimental to the country’s interests. US has time to accommodate Iran by the end of June or can delay and see her position erode more.

  39. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    European leaders can say things about Israel/Palestine, that simply cannot be said by American politicians. This is a primary reason the EU must take the lead in working out a solution to the problem.

  40. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    April 9, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Seeing is believing…

    We shall see, shan’t we?

  41. Karl.. says:

    James
    April 9, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Why cant UK do/say anything?

  42. fyi says:

    Karl.. says:

    April 9, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Indeed.

    Not that EU has any leverage over Israel.

    I mean, can anyone really expect EU to kick Israel out of SWIFT and impose a trade embargo – like in Iran – and doing its very best to induce hyper-inflation in Israel to eviscerate the social fabric of Israel?

  43. Fiorangela says:

    kooshy says:
    April 7, 2015 at 9:30 am

    No worries, kooshy.

    Thank you for the original link and also the English version.

  44. Karl.. says:

    fyi

    True, I dont even understand why anyone would believe that EU have any power at all, its a puppet to America, surely its one of the most pathetic group of states ever since they dont dare doing anything indepently.
    Sometimes I wonder if one just should stop talking about Israel/Palestine, we as a people have no power and the west have allowed Israel to commit this for the past 50 or so years and surely could do it another 50 years. There wont be any change.
    This is going deep too with western racism against “inferior” arab and iranian people that could be killed en masse.

  45. Kooshy says:

    I don’t know how but our NYT you read DC regime Pravda is trying to spin the best way they can what ayatollah Khamenie clearly and explicitly said here is an example

    “The assertions by the leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, could be tactical, intended to give both the negotiators and himself some political space to get Iran’s hard-liners accustomed to the framework of the nuclear deal reached a week ago with the United States and other world powers.”

    Tactical ? Really Thomas, My god, when he an explicitly said the U.S. is lying on what was agreed to, he said iran’ national interest ( conscious) had, has and will have 4 red lines they are
    1- sanctions gone as soon as a deal is signed
    2- No military site inspections will be allowed
    3-All inspections based on norms accepted by other member states
    4- Iran Nuclear R&D will and must continue
    I don’t think he can tactically walk away from this / his own red lines and keep his followers.
    So Thomas E in Tehran wants us to believe that, he the Iran’s supreme leader of revolution after all these years is tactically removing the foundation of the path he is trying to step on ( his own credibility). I don’t think this was his tactical reason as NYT is trying to spin, but rather I think the tactic used was to put a wedge between The factions Obama and the paid MCs in US congress and also between the 1+2+1+2 which is split 3 or 4 ways already, did you notice how he mentioned our only adversarial negotiators on the other sides of table are US and couple of European countries, see he correctly is emphasizing and bolding the existing divide between the hegemon on isolating Iran on excessive hegemonic demands .

  46. Jay says:

    Kooshy says:
    April 9, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    NYT is a trial balloon propaganda mouthpiece of the US intelligence. When NYT was recently challenged about fact checking, the editorial board responded by saying that they did not see factual errors that needed to be corrected.

    Note carefully! NYT did not claim absence of factual errors! They simply asserted that whatever factual error that was there did not need to be corrected.

    Whatever Thomas Edbrink wrote from Tehran was edited by the intelligence operative David Sanger – and factual errors or not, they are sticking with the story!

  47. Pragmatic says:

    Let me reiterate: No deal by end of June! The leader said it out right! Also, with what is going on in Yeman, it’s too early to make a deal with Iran! Lets wait and see.

  48. Pragmatic says:

    I wrote this a few days ago I re-post it again,

    چرا اینهمه نان های هسته ای مان در اینهمه سالها را نمی بینیم.
    و مثلا… نه خونی نه خونریزی ای : سالها صحنه های اصلی داخلی را مدیریت کردیم . و در صدر خبرهای جهان نیز بودیم والا خدا میدانست که چه ها ی دیگر, که نمی نمودیم
    و مثالا چگونه می شد که این نیروها/ نهاد اصولگرایان و حتی اپوزیسیون های بی خاصیت داخلی/خارجی مدیریت گردند
    و این مذاکرات نیز , اگر مشکلات اصلی/ پنهانتر/زیربنایی ترمان حل نشود , معلوم نیست که صلاح باشد که حل بشود.

  49. Sammy says:

    http://atimes.com/2015/04/india-stranded-as-region-readies-for-irans-surge/

    India stranded as region readies for Iran’s surge
    Author: M.K. Bhadrakumar April 9

    ”The Wall Street Journal report today with Islamabad dateline quoting local officials that China is willing to build the Iran-Pakistan [IP] gas pipeline doesn’t come as surprise. But the apparent finality about what has been up until now in the realm of intelligent speculation signifies a tectonic shift in the politics of the region.

    The expected dismantling of the sanctions regime against Iran is triggering reverberations in regional politics and the IP gas pipeline project is evidence of it. Tehran, Islamabad and Beijing are positioning themselves to tap into the new vistas opened by Iran’s integration into the international community.

    The IP pipeline eminently qualifies to become part of China’s ‘Belt and Road’ initiative, with the underpinning provided by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and China’s Silk Road Fund. There is a strong likelihood that the pipeline will get extended to China along the so-called Economic Corridor that is being planned via the Karakorum.

    Conceivably, Iran will welcome an extension of the IP pipeline into China, which, in political terms, would make Beijing a ‘stakeholder’ in the Iran-Pakistan relationship and in turn help stabilize that troubled relationship. A China-Pakistan-Iran strategic axis built on shared concerns of regional stability has far-reaching implications for an entire arc of countries stretching from the Persian Gulf through Afghanistan and Central Asia to China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region.

    Needless to say, the realization of the IP pipeline, overcoming the pressure from Saudi Arabia on Pakistan to desist from going ahead with the project, constitutes a major policy statement by Islamabad. Simply put, Islamabad is probing a way out of the stranglehold of the Saudi orbit, finally. The Saudi embrace has been a blessing and a curse for Pakistan and Iran will be the net beneficiary if Pakistan asserts its independence from Saudi Arabia….

  50. Sammy says:

    From the Syria front :

    http://www.syrianperspective.com/2015/04/derah-jordanian-military-flops-incompetent-jordanians-sending-terrorists-to-their-deaths.html

    ‘DER’AH: When you have a king who is a traitor and a foreigner to his own country, you can expect only the worst in your military. Only the bottom of the barrel microbes; the bottom-feeding garbage fish and floating excrement accept service in a military so besotted and so infused with maliciousness that it openly colludes with the most despised enemy in the history of the Arab peoples. And so, there it is. In Amman, the capital of this rump consolation prize for the accursed tribe of Haashim, there is an “Operations Room” infested with amoral Americans, bungling British, xenophobic Zionists, simian Sauds, queer Qataris and Jordanian jackdaws. Here are the results:….

  51. Rehmat says:

    Barack Obama tells NPR: “Iran will never recognize Israel”.

    On April 10, the official website of Iran’s Supreme Leader quoted Ayatullah Ali Khamenei saying: “Some are asking why the Leader has not taken any stance with regard to the recent nuclear negotiations. The reason for the Leader’s refusal to take stance is that there is no ground for taking a position because the country’s officials and nuclear officials say nothing has yet been done and no binding topic has so far been brought up between the two sides. Such a situation doesn’t need taking a position.”

    “If I’m asked, “do you agree or disagree with the recent nuclear talks? I would answer, I neither agree or disagree with talks because nothing has happened yet. All problems arise from the point the details would be discussed because the opposite side is obstinate, unreliable, dishonest and into backstabbing, and may put constrains on the country, nation and the negotiators throughout discussions about details,” Khamenei said.

    Ayatullah Khamenei went of to say: I have never been optimistic about negotiation with the US and that’s not because of an illusion, but because of experience in that regard. Under Iran’s Constitution, the Supreme Leader has the last word in regard to country’s defense and security. He also holds the position of the ‘Supreme Commander-in-Chief’ of country’s Armed Forces.

    http://rehmat1.com/2015/04/10/obama-iran-will-never-recognize-israel/

  52. Sammy says:

    Here from our friend Richard Steven Hack in MoA, 1 day after Torkamanchai II, sorry I mean Lausanne II :

    ”’People need to remember two things about Obama:

    1) He is a serial liar.

    2) He is, as Normal Finkelstein pointed out, “a stunning narcissist”.

    So he managed to negotiate something close to a deal with Iran. Does anyone really believe that this President, who has spent his ENTIRE term of office accusing Iran of having a nuclear weapons program and killing every potential opportunity for a deal up to this point, has suddenly changed his spots and is sincerely interested in a deal now?

    Remember the negotiations in fall of 2009 and spring of 2010? Obama wrote a letter to the Brazilian and Turkish government leaders explicitly laying out the deal he wanted. Clinton and the rest spent weeks pooh-poohing the idea that such a deal could be obtained with Iran by Brazil and Turkey. But Brazil and Turkey GOT that deal. Within 24 hours, Obama and Clinton turned on the deal and said it wasn’t enough. This is why Brazil and Turkey released that Obama letter – to show what a total liar he was.

    What is happening now is that Obama, looking at his “legacy” – and his clearly undeserved Nobel Peace Prize – is constructing a scenario wherein he manages to negotiate a good deal with Iran – only to have his political opponents ruin the deal at the last minute or down the road.

    This absolves him of all blame! But this was his plan all along! He always was on board with a war with Iran, because that’s what his “Israel-First” and military-industrial complex masters in Chicago wanted – and he never goes against them. He was fully on board with attacking Syria in 2013 until he got out-maneuvered by Putin. He was fully on board with supporting Al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria as well, pursuant to the usual US policy of supporting the chaos-inducing forces in any country.

    All he’s doing now is hiding behind the Republicans and war-monger Democrats who will kill the Iran deal. Or he’s assuming that Israel will start the war – something he was hoping all along because HE doesn’t want to BLAMED for starting the Iran war.

    That, by the way, was the same situation back in 2006. Bush and Cheney wanted Israel to start the Iran war; Israel wanted the US to attack first. Israel tried to destroy Hizballah in Lebanon in 2006 because Israel realized they couldn’t afford to have the Israeli population dealing with Iran missiles, Syrian missiles AND Hizballah missiles in an Iran war – too much economic and social impact. Israel wants a CHEAP Iran war – fought by the US. But Israel couldn’t defeat Hizballah in Lebanon without attacking them in the Bekaa Valley which would entail crossing Syrian territory and thus engaging Syria and Hizballah in a two-front war.

    So there the situation stayed until the Arab Spring. Then after Libya, someone got the bright idea that if Syria could be overthrown by either an insurgency or by a US/NATO air campaign, then Israel could deal with Hizballah. Two goals would be achieved: Syria’s military capabilities in an Iran war would be degraded, and then Israel could degrade Hizballah’s missile arsenal.

    But the attempts failed. Russia and China, burned by the Libya case, vetoed the THREE UNSC Resolutions the US sponsored that included Chapter 7 language authorizing war with Syria. The attempts by Turkey and Israel to get Syria to respond to military provocations also failed. Then came the “chemical weapons” ploy – which was derailed by Putin.

    The ENTIRE goal of the Syrian crisis is to enable Israel to take out its near enemies so that a war with Iran can be started.

    This has not changed. Even the Yemen crisis is just another attempt to demonize Iran during the nuclear negotiations.

    Obama has not changed his spots. His intentions remain to further the course for an Iran war. This Iran deal WILL fail at some point and the Syria crisis will become worse, and eventually Israel will attack Lebanon yet again. After all this has been resolved one way or the other, the final push for war with Iran will begin. It might be in two years, in five years or ten years. But Israel will never stop until Iran is destroyed by the US and the US will never stop until it removes Iran as a major actor in the Middle East.

    Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Apr 3, 2015 2:03:00 PM | 34

  53. Sammy says:

    And here is Pepe:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article41505.htm

    Bomb Iran? Not now: Bomb Yemen

    By Pepe Escobar

    April 09, 2015 “ICH” – “RT” – ‘Operation Decisive Storm’ – the Pentagon-style House of Saud glorifying of its ghastly ‘Bomb Yemen’ show – could be summed up in a single paragraph.
    The wealthiest Arab nation – the House of Saud petro-hacienda – supported by other GCC petro-rackets and also the wealthy “West”, has launched an – illegal – bombing/war/kinetic operation against the poorest Arab nation in the name of “democracy.”

    And this absurdity is just the beginning.

    The EU’s foreign policy chief, the innocuous as a stale cannoli Federica Mogherini, seems to be mildly alarmed. She remarked that Saudi bombing of hospitals and “deliberate targeting and destruction of private homes, education facilities and basic infrastructure cannot be tolerated.”

    Well, the EU tolerates exactly the same thing in Donbass perpetrated by Kiev’s goons – so nothing will come out La Mogherini’s feigned outrage.

    The Red Cross and the Russian Federation, for their part, at least are demanding a temporary ceasefire to allow for humanitarian relief. Humanitarian relief is incompatible with the House of Saud’s bloodline. So after two weeks of Saudi ‘Shock and Awe’, the current toll of at least 560 Yemeni civilians dead (and counting), and 1700 wounded – dozens of them children – is bound to increase.

  54. fyi says:

    All:

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/julie-bishop-to-lobby-to-return-failed-asylum-seekers-to-iran-20150410-1mieaw.html

    First wage an economic war, create refugees, refuse them, and ask the enemy to take them back…

  55. fyi says:

    Nasser says:

    April 10, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    They wanted Iranian defeat; this is anything but Iranian defeat.

    Of course they are against it.

    Significantly, their supposed concerns with verification and the way those concerns are articulated can only be addressed by US occupation of Iran for 40 years or so.

    US does not have the soldiers for that.

  56. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    I think British leaders can “say things” regarding how to resolve the Israel/Palestine problem, especially if they coordinate with other members of the EU.

    In my view, the most important step would be for the EU to make clear Israel cannot change the borders of occupied Palestine, by expanding illegal settlements of Jews.

  57. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    April 10, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    And Israel is going to ignore EU.

    Then what?

    Is EU going to sanction Israel?

    Not on your life they won’t.

    Let us not kid ourselves here Mr. Canning.

  58. Karl.. says:

    James


    In my view, the most important step would be for the EU to make clear Israel cannot change the borders of occupied Palestine, by expanding illegal settlements of Jews.

    Why would they? West have let Israel do what it do for 50 years, so why not add another 50 to that?
    Is the IP conflict something that bothers west? Apparently not.

  59. Karl.. says:

    test

  60. Karl.. says:

    More proof EU wont do anything,
    Germany sell another nuclear sub to israel
    http://tinyurl.com/nuj8ukc

  61. Kooshy says:

    Karl.. says:
    April 10, 2015 at 3:57 pm
    “More proof EU wont do anything,
    Germany sell another nuclear sub to israel”

    Does anybody ever asks how much added security can a nuclear missile lunch capable submarine add to security of Israel ? Who are the adversaries of Israel that can’t be reached at the much lower and more accurate lunch of a missile. Who are/ is the biggest enemy Israel has according to the PM Nutnyaboo that’s Iran which is just a 1000 miles away an easy reach for medium range balsamic missiles , it all sounds is much easier and cheaper to to attack by missiles rather than expensing and risking to send a nuclear sub with sea lunch missiles around the Western Asia to attack Iran from the Arabian Sea with sea lunched missiles which is almost a 1000 miles away from Tehran.

    If that’s so then it all sounds Israelites are getting these useless gifts from the Germans just to leave them alone

  62. kooshy says:

    Sorry a balsamic missiles must be a cucumber salad, meant to say land lunched surface to surface missiles, submarine based missiles have mostly (retaliatory) second strike value since they are mobile and less detectable and can be delivered at closer range, don’t seem any of the criteria is an added necessity to Israel security since none of her adversaries are that far or have the first strike capability to begin with. So IMO this is just a scare propaganda for Israel and a token for Germans to say we are concerned and are paying for protection of Israel so they can be left alone.

  63. Karl.. says:

    Obama really want regime change in Havana
    http://rt.com/news/248825-obama-castro-shake-hands/
    Cuban government seems to be quite naive on this.

  64. Sammy says:

    For nico ( this article was also published in ZH )

    http://www.alt-market.com/articles/2563-one-last-look-at-the-real-economy-before-it-implodes-part-4

    …Despite the hopes of some alternative writers that China will somehow break the chains of the central banking monopoly, every Chinese action since at least 2008 has been in preparation to become a full slave nation under the control of IMF policy. China has now officially submitted its currency (the Yuan) for inclusion as a reserve currency in the SDR basket. China’s central bank has openly called for the IMF to take a dominant role in the management of the world’s currencies through the SDR basket system:

    The world economic crisis shows the “inherent vulnerabilities and systemic risks in the existing international monetary system,” Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan said in an essay released Monday by the bank. He recommended creating a currency made up of a basket of global currencies and controlled by the International Monetary Fund and said it would help “to achieve the objective of safeguarding global economic and financial stability.”

    The IMF conference on the SDR, which takes place every five years, is set to begin preliminaries in May and finish in October or November. It is widely expected that China’s currency will indeed be included in the SDR this year, that this will adversely affect the dollar’s standing as the world reserve currency, and that the U.S. will have little capacity to stop such a development. That’s because American veto power within the IMF is likely to be removed, due to a lack of approval on funding measures and policy changes put to Congress in 2010.

    In numerous articles over the past couple of years I have warned that the destruction of U.S. position within the IMF would be blamed on “political gridlock” over the refusal by Congress to confirm policy changes from 2010, and the brunt of the blame would be placed on “conservatives”. This past week my suspicions were supported by the statements of Larry Summers, a former Treasury Secretary and elitist who was partially responsible for the end of Glass-Steagall and the creation of the derivatives bubble, and the man who claimed “history will overwhelmingly approve QE”. Summers decried the end of the U.S. as the “underwriter of the global economic system”, also stating:

    “Largely because of resistance from the right, the US stands alone in the world in failing to approve the International Monetary Fund governance reforms that Washington itself pushed for in 2009. By supplementing IMF resources, this change would have bolstered confidence in the global economy. More important, it would come closer to giving countries such as China and India a share of IMF votes commensurate with their new economic heft…”

    “With China’s economic size rivalling America’s and emerging markets accounting for at least half of world output, the global economic architecture needs substantial adjustment. Political pressures from all sides in the US have rendered it increasingly dysfunctional…”

    Avid enthusiasm for China’s new regional bank has put the U.S. on the defensive, as supposed allies are joining the chorus calling for China to join the SDR.

    This would make the Yuan the first currency not fully convertible to join the SDR basket. Meaning, it is difficult to directly invest in Yuan compared to investing in dollars. But this is exactly what the IMF wants.

    The Asian Times put it rather bluntly but honestly:

    “Currently, central banks can’t include yuan holdings in their foreign exchange reserves. However, via inclusion in the SDR basket, the currency will effectively enjoy a “back door” where convertibility is concerned. The upshot, according to Citibank, means increased yuan demand from central banks and further integration of the currency into global capital market flows.

    Importantly, China has espoused an “internationalisation” of reserve currencies away from U.S. dollar hegemony and dependencies on local economic fluctuations on exchange rates and stability. The yuan inclusion in the basket would be a step towards a more multi-lateral currency world. While full convertibility may still be far away, China’s ability to have a global reserve currency may soon be upon us.”

    Yes, that’s right, China’s inclusion in the SDR will HELP the process of marginalization of the dollar and aid in the ascendance of the SDR as a world reserve mechanism. And as China becomes a currency powerhouse in its role as the No. 1 economy in the world, the only way central banks around the planet can benefit or “invest” in the Yuan will be by stockpiling SDRs! Demand for SDRs will be cleverly boosted by natural demand for the Yuan. This is how a global currency structure begins.

    The only true beneficiaries of this cycle will be the IMF and those elites who desperately want a totally centralized global economic system.

    In the meantime, as the dollar loses its world reserve status, it loses the ONLY pillar of support keeping its value somewhat stable. As the dollar falls, U.S. citizens will be reduced to Second World or Third World economic expectations. Employment and wages will continue to dissolve, while the margins between the “haves” and “have nots” will continue to grow. In the worst-case scenario, total chaos would result followed by an international intervention to “save us” from ourselves. Our currency would likely be permanently pegged to the SDR basket, just as Argentina’s was pegged to our dollar after its collapse. And the IMF would own the U.S. rather than the U.S. owning the IMF, as is the common delusion.

    As stated earlier, Federal Reserve stimulus actions “seem” to have failed miserably. Now our nation is facing a firestorm. But I would submit that the Federal Reserve has not failed in its mission. The Fed’s purpose is not to defend the stability of the U.S. economy and the dollar; the Fed’s purpose is to destroy the stability of the U.S. economy and the dollar. Thus, the Fed has succeeded in its mission. And I believe a full audit of Fed policies and actions would prove this fact beyond a doubt.

    I will continue to outline the endgame for globalization that is under way in the next installment of this series, including how central banks in foreign nations collude with each other and are managed by supranational entities like the IMF and the BIS. The implosion of America serves a very particular purpose. It is not a product of blind coincidence, fate, political stupidity or corporate greed. It is an engineered event meant to clear the way for an even more sinister economic environment designed to establish a final economic empire with the purpose of permanently enslaving us all.

  65. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    Obama has favored better relations between Cuba and the US since he entered the White House. He faces political constraints that I am sure you can recognize.

  66. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    Most European diplomats comprehend that Israel damages the national security interests of the EU, by growing illegal colonies of Jews in occupied Palestine.

  67. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I think the key point the EU can make, is to make clear that no matter how many hundreds of thousands of Jews settle illegally in occupied Palestine, this will not change the borders.

  68. Karl.. says:

    James
    April 11, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    They can say that sure, but they arent doing anything on the issue, so how much do you think the conflict mean for them? Nothing.

    James
    April 11, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    That wssnt what I was talking about, I was talking about Obama working on regime change in Havana. That is something dems/rep support. Dont you agree?

  69. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    April 11, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    As the Americans say: “Big deal”!

  70. kooshy says:

    Good Job Glenn and thanks for writing this article the bottom line is these are all state run programs no matter they are run by private companies, the end result is same as any controlled state media, if you don’t fallow the line you lose your job in a flash like Dan Rather said himself and lost his job.
    ——–
    IRANIANS ARE MUCH TALKED ABOUT ON SUNDAY MORNING TV, BUT NEVER HEARD FROM
    BY GLENN GREENWALD

    “It’s remarkably telling that the only voices heard on Sunday morning TV shows are those who spout the U.S. Government line about Iran, including officials from the repressive regimes most closely allied with the U.S. Obviously, one can find the arguments of Iranians unpersuasive or even harbor hostility to that nation’s government, but what possible justification is there for the leading Sunday morning news shows in the U.S. to simply suppress those views altogether?”

    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/04/11/iranians-talked-much-sunday-morning-tv-never-heard/

  71. Kathleen says:

    Thank you Leverett’s for working for peace based on facts. You folks are an inspiration. Hope people share this piece with others.

  72. Rehmat says:

    Don’t believe what Zionist-controlled media say about EU. If you read some objective source – EU is totally controlled by Jewish Lobby.

    Professor Nurit Peled-Elhanan (Hebrew University), proved that in her address at the European Parliament, 2005. She is the daughter of Israel’s 1967 war hero, Gen. Matetiyahu Peled.

    http://rehmat1.com/2009/09/05/israeli-mother-who-refuses-to-shut-up/

  73. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    I very much doubt Obama saw any chance of bringing about “regime change” in Cuba, by continuing the US sanctions. I think Obama has favored normal relations between the US and Cuba, for many years.

    I think it would be a very big deal indeed, if the EU declared Israel cannot change the borders of Palestine by building illegal settlements.

  74. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Your position is that Israel/Palestine should be one country. This would mean Jews could settle anywhere they like, in what is now occupied Palestine?

  75. fyi says:

    James Canning says:

    April 12, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Yes, and Arabs could settle anywhere they like as well.

    My own position is a system like the confessional system of Lebanon.

    The Secular & Democratic Republic of Palestine will end the religious war over Palestine and free Muslims to concentrate the real task at hand, which is development.

  76. Castellio says:

    FYI – somewhere upthread you suggested that both Pakistan and Turkey would join Saudi Arabia in an attack on Iran. I asked what possible reasoning would motivate such an attack. You told me to “ask them”.

    Well, I haven’t asked them, but I note that Pakistan is not going to send troops to help Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

  77. fyi says:

    Castellio says:

    April 12, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    I said “could” and not “would” if I recall correctly.

    But I stand by what I have said – one has to plan according to the capabilities and not intentions.

  78. Karl.. says:

    fyi


    The Secular & Democratic Republic of Palestine will end the religious war over Palestine and free Muslims to concentrate the real task at hand, which is development.

    Then, you have to wait some centuries,
    Palestinians nor israelis will never be westernized so why keep wishing for it?

  79. Castellio says:

    FYI: I appreciate your capabilities argument.

    However, my larger point, of which I think you are aware, is that if one falls head over heals in love with the Sunni-Shia division as predictive, one often gets the Middle East wrong. (Let alone that one becomes a fellow rider with the Saudi Royal family…)

    Just to explore a different way of thinking: is it possible that both Pakistan and Turkey now have political elements trying to plan beyond the royal family of Saudi Arabia, anticipating its fall?

  80. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    The whole speech by Agha. Khoda hefzesh kone.

    http://english.khamenei.ir//index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2045

    “I want to raise a few points about the nuclear issue. I have never been optimistic about negotiations with America. This pessimism is not based on an illusion- rather- it is based on experience. We have experienced this. If one day – when we are no longer around – you have access to the details of these events and to the writings about these days, you will definitely see how we gained this experience. However, despite the fact that I was not optimistic about negotiating with America, I did not express my opposition to these specific negotiations. I gave my blessing and I supported our negotiators with all my heart and soul and I continue to support them in the present time.

    If an agreement is made that guarantees the interests of the people of Iran and preserves their dignity, I will support and welcome it one hundred percent. Everyone should know this. If someone says that we are opposed to reaching an agreement, they have not spoken the truth. If an agreement is made which ensures the interests of the people and the country, I will completely approve of it. Of course, we said that no agreement is better than making a bad one. This is what the Americans have said as well. This formula is a correct formula. No agreement is better than making an agreement which ignores the interests of the people, destroys national dignity and humiliates the great people of Iran. Under such circumstances, no agreement is far better than making such an agreement. This is the first point.”

  81. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    “As for the issue of Yemen, the Saudis have established a bad tradition in the region. Of course, they have made a mistake. Today, what the government of Saudi Arabia is doing in Yemen is exactly the same thing that the Zionists are doing in Gaza. This issue has two aspects: one is that it is a genocidal crime. It is a crime that can be pursued by international authorities. They kill children and destroy houses, infrastructure and national sources of wealth. Well, this is a big crime. This is one aspect of the issue.

    The other aspect is that the Saudis will suffer a loss on this matter. They will suffer a loss and they will not achieve any victory. There is a very clear reason for this. The reason is that the military capabilities of the Zionists are several times more than these so-and-so Saudis. The Zionists are much stronger than them. The Zionists too had military capabilities. And the camp against them was a small strip of land, namely Gaza. But the camp against the Saudis is a country which is comprised of tens of millions of people. It is a people and a vast country that has stood up against the Saudis. If the Zionists can achieve victory in Gaza, the Saudis too will achieve victory in Yemen. Of course, even if the Zionists achieved victory, the chances for the Saudis to achieve victory in Yemen would be zero. In the present time, their chances are less than zero. So, they will definitely receive a blow. Without a doubt, their noses will be rubbed in dirt.

    We have many differences with the Saudis on different political issues. But we always said that the Saudis behave with tact and gravity in their foreign affairs. But they have lost this tact and gravity. A few inexperienced youth have taken the affairs of that country in their hands and they prefer savagery to tact and maintaining appearances. This will be to their disadvantage. I warn the Saudis. Stop these criminal actions are commiting in Yemen. This is not acceptable in the region.

    Of course, America defends and supports them. This is in America’s nature. They support the oppressive side on all matters in the world. They advocate for the bad person instead of advocating for the oppressed. This is in their nature. They are acting in the same way on the issue of Yemen, but they will receive a blow and they will be defeated. Now, they are creating uproar by saying that Iran has interfered in the affairs of Yemen. Of course, this is interference! Just because we are saying a few words about this issue, we are interfering! But the fact that their criminal warplanes have created an insecure environment for Yemen is not interference. They are finding silly excuses for their own interference. These excuses are not acceptable in terms of international logic. Neither the people nor God will accept such excuses. So, this is what they need to do: they should stop committing such crimes and creating such disasters as soon as possible.”

  82. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    “The last point on this matter is about my demands. I have a number of demands which I made to officials and I insist on them. One is that officials should know our current nuclear achievements are very valuable. They should know this. They should not look at them as things of little value. They are very valuable. The nuclear industry is a necessity for any country. If some so-called intellectuals pick up their pens and write, “What do we need the nuclear industry for?” this is deception. This looks likes the things which used to be said during the time of Qajar dynasty. When oil was just discovered and the English had come to take it, Qajar officials said, “What do we want this smelly and stinking substance for? Let them take it”. The statements that these so-called intellectuals say are like this. The nuclear industry is a necessity for any country. It is necessary for supplying energy, for preparing drugs, for turning seawater into drinking water and for fulfilling many other needs in the area of agriculture and other areas.

    The nuclear industry is an advanced industry in the world. It is an important industry. And it was achieved by our own experts. This was an explosion of the inner capacities and talents of our own experts. Now, such and such a backward country says that if Iran is supposed to have enrichment, I want enrichment as well. Well, you can go and engage in enrichment if you know how to do so [audience laughs]. We did not learn enrichment from anyone. It was with our own domestic talent that we managed to do it. If your people have this talent, you can go and engage in enrichment.

    These are childish excuses that some countries make. Enrichment and the other achievements that have been made in the nuclear area are a very important accomplishment. It is not a minor achievement. And these are only our initial steps in this industry. This industry should be worked on so that it makes progress. Now a few criminal countries which have either used nuclear bombs against other nations or tested them – such as America and France – are telling us what to do. Ten, twelve years ago, France conducted three nuclear tests – in a row – in the ocean. These tests are destructive and they destroy the marine environment. They conducted three dangerous tests. And there was little criticism over this matter in the world and later on, they shut mouths and it was over.

    This is while we are not after nuclear tests. We are not after nuclear weapons. And this is not because they are telling us not to pursue these things. Rather, we do not want these things for the sake of ourselves and our religion and because reason is telling us not to do so. Both shar’i and aqli [related to logic and reason] fatwas dictate that we do not pursue them. Our aqli fatwa is that we do not need a nuclear weapon either in the present time or in the future. A nuclear weapon is a source of trouble for a country like ours – I do not want to expand on this matter. So, nuclear achievements are very important and pursuing this industry and industrializing the country is a very important task. This should receive attention.

    The next demand that we made to officials was that we told them not to trust the other side. Fortunately, one of the honorable officials recently said in an open and direct way that he does not trust the other side at all. This is a very good thing. I said that they should not trust the other side, that they should not be deceived by its smile and that they should not trust the promise – not the actions – that it makes. This is because when they have crossed the bridge, they will turn around and make you a laughing stock. They are this shameless. Now that an initial agreement, in the form of a note and proclamation, has been published and that they have managed to move forward this much – nothing has been done yet and even when the two sides say that no binding agreement has been made yet – the American president appears on TV, with what gestures and show!

    Another issue that we discussed with officials and that we would like to discuss with the people now is that in the details of the negotiations – the next months are very important – sanctions have to be lifted completely and at once. One side says that sanctions will be lifted in six months. Another says that it may take one year for the sanctions to be lifted. Another says that it make take even more than a year. These are their usual games. They are not worthy of attention and we do not accept them at all. If Allah the Exalted has ordained that an agreement is to be made, sanctions have to be completely lifted on the day of the final agreement. This has to happen. If lifting sanctions is supposed to depend on another new process, why did we negotiate with them in the first place? What was the purpose of sitting at the negotiating table and wrangling with them? The purpose was to lift the sanctions. If they want to set new terms for lifting sanctions, this is not acceptable at all.

    Another point that we discussed with the officials and that we would like to discuss with you is that they are not at all allowed to penetrate the security and defense areas of the country with the excuse of supervision. This should not happen at all. The military officials of the country are not at all allowed to let foreigners enter the security and defense areas of the country with the excuse of exercising supervision, carrying out investigations and other such excuses. Also they are not allowed to hamper the defense development of the country. The defense development and capability of the country is the firm fist of the people in the military arena and therefore, it should remain firm and become even firmer. Another issue that we do not negotiate over is the support that we offer to our resistant brothers in different countries. Such issues should not be touched at all in the process of negotiations.

    Another warning is that no unusual methods- which treats the Islamic Republic in a special way in terms of supervision- is acceptable. The same usual methods that are used in the world should be used in our country and nothing more.

    The last point in this regard is that scientific and technical development in the nuclear area should not be stopped at all. Development – technical development – should continue. Officials may deem it necessary to accept a few limitations. We have no objections in this regard. They can accept a few limitations, but technical development should definitely continue and it should move forward with complete strength and power.

    These are what we wanted to say to our officials. We have said these points to them in private meetings as well. During the past one and a half years, I have pointed out these issues to the honorable President. I have also discussed them with the head of the negotiating team – the honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs – on few occasions. These are what I wanted to say in this regard. Of course, it depends on them with what methods they want to fulfill these demands. They can go and find good negotiation methods. They can benefit from well-informed and trustworthy personalities and the opinions of critics. Then, they can do what is necessary. This was related to the nuclear matter.”

  83. Karl.. says:

    Russian spokesman: Lift Iran weapon ban
    http://tinyurl.com/qz9cdp7

  84. Amir says:

    Bussed-in Basiji
    The part about “if they have the know-how, they could go after enrichment” made my day. واقعاً قلبم رو جلا داد
    I could say the events in Yemen (and possibly that at Jidda Airport) have had something to do with that, and sensing that made me feel kind of ashamed. I mean, if dilly-dallying in geopolitics makes vali-ye-faqih angry, how would that sit with emam-e-zaman? or God?

  85. Rehmat says:

    On April 8, 2015, John Kerry and his Jewish undersecretary, Wendy Sherman, who is leading the US team at the so-called P5+1 group held a 2-hour meeting with the powerful Jewish Lobby members, AIPAC, ADL, and the Jewish Federation of North America. Kerry stayed for one hour while Sherman spent another hour to explain the American traitors that Obama administration may disagree with Netanyahu’s Iran-phobia – but has no intention of letting Iran having a nuclear bomb to challenge Israel’s nuclear monopoly in the region.

    http://rehmat1.com/2015/04/13/john-kerry-consults-jewish-lobby-on-us-iran-deal/

  86. fyi says:

    Castellio says:

    April 12, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    The answer to your last question is “I do not know”.

    I personally find Shia-Sunni divide a stupid and malignant disputation; just like race in the United States.

    But that it is stupid or malignant does not mean one should ignore its real manifestations in human action.

    The major thrust of the Shia Doctors has been to reduce the differences to the level of “Legal Schools” and some of the Sunni Ulema have joined it that endeavor.

    But centuries of prejudice on both sides cannot be eliminated over a few decades.

  87. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Your apparent belief that the Jews in Israel/Palestine would accept the name “Palestine” for their country, is in my view completely unrealistic. The Jews would never give up control of the military, intelligence services, police, courts, etc etc etc.

  88. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    Given that China has “westernized” itself, why do you think Palestine incapable of doing the same? Think Singapore.